Devin Farnum wins Allied Golf Championship at Stockbridge
STOCKBRIDGE -- Entering the second 18 holes of the Allied Championship on Sunday at Stockbridge Golf Club, it looked almost certain that the winner would come from the final foursome.
But someone forgot to tell that to 20-year-old Devin Farnum, who trailed by five shots after shooting a 4-over-par 75 in the morning round.
While that final group -- which included 10-time Allied champion and first-round leader Andy Congdon -- got off to a nightmarish start, Farnum put together a dream round, shooting a 2-under-par 69 for a two-shot victory.
While Farnum made only one bogey in his afternoon round, Congdon and left-hander Matt Freitag, second following an opening 72, combined for nine bogeys and three double bogeys on the opening nine to open the door for Farnum and Chris Shields, who also shot a second-round 69, to come from back in the pack to finish second.
Farnum said didn't set a target score heading into the final 18.
"My grandfather has always has told me not go out with a score in mind," Farnum said. "I didn't think about being five shots behind. I just took it one shot at a time."
Even if he had set a target, it probably wouldn't have been a 69.
"This was my best competitive round by six shots," Farnum said.
Farnum, a member at both Wyantenuck Country Club and Egremont Country Club, was paired with Congdon, who is also a Wyantenuck member and has been the county's dominant player for years, in the opening round.
"I was more excited to play with him than nervous about it," said Farnum, who had never been paired with the senior standout. "He's a great competitor. I just concentrated on my own game and I think I handled it well."
During the morning round, Farnum had one great escape that, when you consider he won by two shots, was pivotal to the outcome. On the dogleg left, par-4 12th hole, he missed his drive into the heavy growth to the right of the fairway. After a search -- with Congdon's help -- they found the ball. Farnum hacked it out of the deep stuff, hit an iron to about 20 feet and drained the putt to save the par.
In the afternoon, he used solid ball striking and some clutch putting to pull away for the win.
"He putted unbelievably in the second round," said Tom Czelusniak, who played with Farnum in both bounds. "He had some great par saves."
"My putting was iffy in the morning," Farnum said. "It was much better in the afternoon and this was probably the best I have ever hit my irons in a tournament."
Perhaps his best iron came on one of Stockbridge's most difficult holes, the par-4 ninth.
"I didn't hit my iron [off the tee] very well and hit a cut with a 5-iron to within 3 to 4 feet," he said.
Farnum made that birdie and added on Nos. 11 and 16.
He didn't know where he stood -- the demise of the final foursome and the rally by Stockbridge member Shields were unknown to him. As it turned out, the birdie on 16 and two great par-saving putts on the 17th and 18th, both from about 10 feet, ended up being the difference.
Perhaps the second happiest person at Stockbridge was Frank Cippolini, the 11-time club champion at Egremont who has mentored Farnum. Cippolini played in Farnum's group and that helped keep the young player calm and focused.
"He was there for moral support," said Farnum. "He makes me better. Since we play a lot at Egremont, we're are always trying to best each other. Two years ago, I couldn't beat him. Now we are kind of even."
"He's always at Egremont working," Cippolini said. "I gave him a driver and a hybrid, and now he hits it by me and hits it great."
The matches with Cippolini will end soon, at least for now, with Farnum headed to Division III golf powerhouse Methodist University, which offers a Professional Golf Management program.
In that final foursome, meanwhile, Wyantenuck member Joe Grochmal rallied on the back nine to shoot a 2-over 73 to finish third at 147. Congdon also finished strong after his uncharacteristic start, playing the final five holes in 1 under to shoot a 79 and finish fourth at 149.
"Andy just wasn't himself this afternoon," Grochmal said.
Congdon and Grochmal did walk away with one win, however, combining with Mike Schopp Jr. to win the team championship for Wyantenuck, the fourth year in a row the Great Barrington club has won the title.
To contact Richard Lord:
or (413) 496-6236.
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